[CR]Stem length vs. steering

(Example: Framebuilders:Tony Beek)

Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 20:19:10 -0500 (EST)
From: "Emanuel Lowi" <lowiemanuel@yahoo.ca>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
In-Reply-To: <MONKEYFOODtnhM8LX8700005b07@monkeyfood.nt.phred.org>
Subject: [CR]Stem length vs. steering

I've always been amazed at the variety of stem lengths offered for/employed on serious cycles..

Cinelli made classic stems in lengths from 7cm to 14cm -- a difference of nearly a huge 2.5 inches! I've no idea what gives today -- probably more choice.

It seems to this physical science ignoramus that stem length has a direct & immediate bearing on steering and handling, in combo with fork rake (which varies relatively slightly) and head tube angle (which also varies to the tune of not more than 3 degrees on classic racing frames).

So what's up? Isn't there a rather narrow window of optimum stem length for ideal steering/handling? Why does it seem that stem length is employed as a quick & dirty solution to inappropriate top tube length, arather than it being a crucial consideration for optimum control of the bicycle?

Emanuel Lowi
Montreal, Quebec